Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the prediction and characterization of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer's disease (AD)
Author: Zamboni, Giovanna
ISNI:       0000 0004 2745 1602
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
The aim of the research presented in this thesis was to improve the characterisation of the changes in brain structure and function that occur at different stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) progression, from pre-symptomatic AD, to mild cognitive impairment (MCI), to clinically evident dementia, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques. Baseline structural MRI data from a cohort of healthy older adults who were followed prospectively for ten years, during which time some developed MCI and some AD, were analysed. It was found that structural MRI could detect volume loss in medial-temporal lobes up to 7-10 years before clinical symptoms of AD appear. In addition, volumetric variability of medial-temporal regions detected by structural MRI across cognitively healthy older adults correlated with their performance on a task of visuospatial associative memory, and functional activation of the same regions occurred during successful performance of the same task on functional MRI (fMRI). Three groups of participants - cognitively healthy controls, people with MCI, and patients with probable AD - were then recruited and underwent a multimodal MRI protocol, which included functional sequences acquired at rest and during the execution of two different cognitive tasks (visuospatial associative memory and self-appraisal). Cross-sectional comparisons showed: (i) that successful visuospatial associative memory performance was associated with increased functional activity (measured with task fMRI) in lateral prefrontal regions in AD patients relative to controls and (ii) that increased functional activity overlapped with frontal brain networks showing increased functional connectivity (measured with resting fMRI) in the same AD patients. Further, by demonstrating group- and condition-specific decreased frontal activity in AD patients relative to controls during a self-appraisal fMRI task, it was shown the specific utility of fMRI to unravel cognitive mechanisms underlying specific neuropsychological symptoms such as unawareness of cognitive impairment (anosognosia) in MCI and AD. In conclusion, structural MRI can detect morphological changes in the preclinical stage of AD, possibly earlier than previously described, and these reliably match cognitive functioning in older adults. In the MCI and AD stages, once symptoms of cognitive impairment are clinically evident and measurable, task-related and resting functional MRI can inform on residual brain function detectable over and above the known changes in brain morphology and cognitive performance that have already occurred at these stages, emerging as a sensitive marker of residual ability that could potentially be used to measure the effect of new treatments.
Supervisor: Wilcock, Gordon; Tracey, Irene Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Geratology ; Neuroscience ; Old Age psychiatry ; Neurology ; Alzheimer's disease ; mild cognitive impairment ; imaging